Bath houses in Japan have been a part of the culture for hundreds of years and in Tokyo, there are 600 of them in neighborhood all around the city. At Japanese baths, you must be naked which is normal in Japan, but public bathing may be new some people. In Japan, there is an expression – hadaka no tsukiai (裸の付き合い) “we’re all equal when naked” – so don’t worry! We’re here just to bathe and relax.
These bath houses called sento have evolved from their Showa era post war design to modern interiors that may surprise you. Some look like they’re from sci-fi movies from the year 2050 and other have gone back in time to the 1920’s Taisho era when everything was made out of wood and glass. The industry is under going big changes and there’s never been a better time to experience Tokyo’s sento culture than right now.
▶︎ For more information on Tokyo’s sento, check tattoo friendly places or see the history of bathing in Japan, check out the “Tokyo Sento Association” official site http://www.1010.or.jp/english/
In this episode, we visit 5 Sento around Tokyo, some of them newly remodeled, some have not changed since constructed 80 years ago, all of the tattoo friendly!
★ Takarayu (Retro Style)
★ Hisamatsuyu (Onsen)
★ Sakaeyu (Modern Style)
★ Hasunuma Onsen (Retro Style)
★ Daikokuyu (Onsen)
HOW MUCH IS VISITING A SENTO?
▶︎ 460 yen ($4)
The entrance fee is universal through the city of Tokyo.
Sento are typically open from 16:00 to 22:00 daily.
People with body art will be happy to learn that Tokyo’s Bath Houses are mostly tattoo friendly. With the Tokyo Olympics coming in 2020, Tokyo’s sento are a snapshot of the cultural shifts happening in the city today.
Visiting the sento is good for your health, increasing blood circulation and finding total relaxation for the body.
This show has been created and produced by John Daub ジョン・ドーブ. He’s been living and working in Japan for over 20 years and regularly reports on TV for Japan’s International Channel.